FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
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(March 14, 2008) The Washington-DC based human rights group, International Christian Concern (ICC) www.www.persecution.org has just learned that Sister Nusrat Shafi, a 30-year-old Nun of the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary, survived a murder attempt in Lahore by an unknown person on March 8, 2008, which was also International Women’s Day.
The parish priest of St. John’s Catholic Church, Fr. Emmanuel Asi, told that Sr. Nusrat was alone in the convent in Youhanabad, the biggest Christian neighborhood in Pakistan, when the assailant came in at about 5:00pm on March 8, 2008. He attacked the young sister and slashed her neck twice with a dagger, attempting to slit her throat. Thinking that he had accomplished his mission, the attacker left her for dead.
The other four sisters who worked at the convent were participating in services elsewhere, and had left Sr. Nusrat alone because she was not feeling well. When they returned, they were alarmed to find Sr. Nusrat lying in a pool of blood and rushed her to the Lahore General Hospital. She was still undergoing medical care when this report was written.
ICC’s source said that she was recovering but that her doctors have advised her not to talk. Local church leaders submitted an application for police to investigate the incident at the Nishtar police station on the same day. Police finally registered the First Information Report on March 11, 2008, but have still not made any arrests. In addition, the sisters have complained that the police have not paid a single visit to the convent for investigations.
Fr. Asi condemned the attack, calling it an act of terrorism. He urged the authorities to provide protection for religious minorities and bring the culprit to justice. The priest said that this was the fourth incident in Youhanabad targeting religious leaders within the past 11 months.
Local church leadership and laity, including politicians, merchants, teachers – both men and women – are paying regular visits to the sisters to show their solidarity.
The convent is situated on the premises of a Home for Aged People which has been run by the Sisters of Charity of Jesus and Mary for the past 40 years. The sisters also run a boys’ school and a girls’ school in Youhanabad and pay regular visits to Christian families in the evenings.
ICC Policy Analyst, Jeremy Sewall, said, Not only was this an act of terrorism, it was an act of cowardice. If Muslims want to defend their religion, let them come forward like men and meet ideological challengers with legitimate arguments. Attempting to murder a helpless, innocent, charity worker only serves to de-legitimize the truth claims of those who seek to defend Islam.
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ICC is a Washington-DC based human rights organization that exists to help persecuted Christians worldwide. ICC delivers humanitarian aid, trains and supports persecuted pastors, raises awareness in the US regarding the problem of persecution, and is an advocate for the persecuted on Capitol Hill and the State Department. For additional information or for an interview, contact ICC at 800-422-5441.